Rebecca Lynn Shadle, 38, was arraigned in Greensburg on July 13th and jailed on $100,000 bond according to court records. Shadle has been charged with trafficking in minors, aggravated assault of a child, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault on a child, exploitation of children, and endangering the welfare of a child.
Writers at TRIBLive.com report that Shadle was initially arrested after a ChildLine report and interview with the victim drew police attention. Information obtained through the interview included allegations that Shadle had allowed men to touch the young girl.
Later, Shadle admitted to investigators that she had, in fact, watched two men kiss and touch the girl while she was intoxicated and in need of money. One of the men, she stated, was Brian Keith Spillar who allegedly paid her $60 to have sexual contact with the girl. Spillar has been charged with patronizing a victim of sexual servitude, aggravated indecent assault of a child, and corruption of minors. The second man, who also allegedly paid Shadle $60 for sexual contact with the girl, has not yet been identified by authorities and is listed as “Greg” in court documents. Police are currently looking into whether a 3-year-old who was in Shadle’s care at the time may have also been sexually abused.
The CSE Institute applauds Westmoreland County for pursuing trafficking charges against Shadle. However, we encourage prosecutors to take full advantage of Pennsylvania’s human trafficking statute, Act 105 (2014), if appropriate, by charging sex buyers such as Spillar and the other suspect as both buyers and traffickers. Under ACT 105, sections 2011 (a) and (b) it is a felony to recruit, entice, solicit, harbor, transport, provide, obtain or maintain an individual if the person knows or recklessly disregards that the individual will be subject to involuntary servitude.
Here, according to police, both Spillar and the unidentified sex buyer actively solicited the child’s caretaker when they arranged to gain access to the child for the purposes of engaging in a commercial sex act. Additionally, the two sex buyers obtained the child after negotiating the illicit transaction with the child’s caretaker, where they then exerted momentary possession over the child when committing the alleged sexual offenses. Furthermore, section 3011(b) also does not require that sex buyers know the victim is a victim of trafficking, just that they acted in reckless disregard of the fact. As the two sex buyers allegedly purchased access to the child for the purpose of committing a sexual offense, proving their actions were at least in reckless disregard of the child’s status as a trafficking victim would likely not present a challenge for prosecution. Finally, because the victim was a child, the alleged actions of the men in soliciting and obtaining the child for the purpose of commercial sex, causing the child to be subjected to sexual servitude, is a first-degree felony.
All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.